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Royals renew I-70 Series

Royals renew I-70 Series with Redbirds

Last year, Mark Teahen was just trying to find himself as a Major Leaguer when he came to Busch Stadium for the second leg of the I-70 Series. One year later, Teahen is the central focus of Kansas City's offense, but it's the Royals who are trying to find themselves as they start a three-game set against the Cardinals on Monday night at Busch.

In 2006, Teahen was just a few short weeks removed from the Minor Leagues and carried a .244 season average into the series. He still was wondering if he belonged in the Majors, realizing that his season could go up or down in the next few games and next few weeks.

It went up, way up. Teahen enjoyed arguably his finest series as a big leaguer, going 6-for-13 with two homers, six RBIs and six runs scored against Redbirds pitching.

The series propelled Teahen to a .321 average, .402 on-base percentage and .603 slugging percentage the rest of the season. He also hit 14 homers and drove in 50 runs in those games, propelling himself to team Player of the Year honors.

"It's always nice to return to a place where you have had success," Teahen said.

This season, Teahen has cemented himself as the team's most significant offensive threat, batting third and hitting .285 with a team-leading 36 RBIs. Kansas City, though, is a team that is starting to make a Teahen-like climb, winning its last three series and six of nine games.

The I-70 Series, during which Kansas City took two of three last week at Kauffman Stadium during the first leg, could propel the Royals to their best record in relation to .500 since early May and possibly help them climb out of the cellar in the tough American League Central.

Earlier this season, the Royals won eight of 10 games, but they lost seven straight when they didn't receive consistent pitching or timely hitting. Now, those two traits will need to stay consistent.

"The most important thing that we have to continue to do is win series," Brian Bannister said.

Odalis Perez, who hasn't tossed a quality start in four straight starts, will pitch Monday night against his career nemesis. He is 2-4 in 10 career appearances against the Redbirds, and he has been hit around numerous times, including allowing six earned runs in three-plus innings against St. Louis in his last start.

A strong start from Perez could help jumpstart another win, a victory that could continue a Teahen-like hot streak.

Pitching matchup
KC: LHP Odalis Perez (3-7, 6.19 ERA)
Perez is 1-5 with three no-decisions in his last nine starts. He has a 5.05 ERA on the road.

STL: RHP Adam Wainwright (5-5, 4.66 ERA)
Wainwright tossed the best start of his career, working eight innings of one-hit ball against the Royals on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium. He carried a no-hitter through the first 5 2/3 innings before allowing a single to Esteban German. Wainwright was effective with all three pitches -- fastball, slider and curveball. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in four of his last five starts, compiling a 2.43 ERA. Wainwright has a 4.65 ERA at Busch Stadium.

Player to watch

Teahen, who will look to reproduce his breakout series at Busch Stadium last season, has 10 RBIs in 15 games in June.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• RSTN

On radio
• WHB

Up next
• Tuesday: Royals (Scott Elarton, 2-2, 8.54) at Cardinals (Brad Thompson, 4-2, 5.28), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Royals (Gil Meche, 4-6, 3.00) at Cardinals (Kip Wells, 2-11, 6.93), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Off-day

Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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